We have reduced our IT costs by at least 30% by developing our SaaS platform on AWS.
Vivek Phalak Chief Technology Officer, Shoptimize
  • Shoptimize needed a scalable cloud infrastructure to support its SaaS platform and deliver a highly reliable solution to its customers
  • The company is running its SaaS platform on AWS
  • Reduces IT costs by 30 percent
  • Scales IT to support 110 percent annual growth
  • Lowers IT-management spend
  • Gains additional resources for driving innovation
  • Delivers 99.999 percent service availability

India-based Shoptimize delivers an end-to-end ecommerce platform to leading brands; to establish their online presence and grow website sales. The company is headquartered in Pune, India and has satellite offices in Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore. Shoptimize’s solution spans across technology, marketing, marketplace management, and analytics, which include an analytics dashboard designed to provide customers with a single view of their entire digital business. Today, the company works with more than 100 retailers, including market-leading brands, and onboards an average of 10 new customers each month.

India is experiencing an ecommerce boom. According to KPMG, the country’s ecommerce businesses are seeing annual growth of 31 percent with revenues at about $80 billion by 2020. With consumers in India spending more online, Indian retailers are eager to capitalize on this growth and develop their own ecommerce websites. However, many companies lack the skill sets and resources to establish an online presence. That’s where Shoptimize comes in. The company offers an end-to-end ecommerce solution to retailers for a monthly fee. Customers gain a website that can securely handle payments and arrange deliveries. They also obtain access to marketing services to drive traffic to their websites and detailed analytics that cover multiple areas.

Delivering such a broad offering requires a robust software as a service (SaaS) platform. In order to support its SaaS platform, Shoptimize decided to build on the cloud from day one. “As a startup organization, we had to keep IT costs low for our business and customers,” says Vivek Phalak, chief technology officer at Shoptimize. “We wanted to avoid significant upfront CAPEX. Given the growth of ecommerce in India, we knew our platform would also need to be scalable.”

Says Phalak, “Every dollar we spend on management is a dollar less for development, and in our industry, innovation is key. Our goal was to deliver a highly reliable ecommerce solution to our customers that also offered increasing value over time through analytical services.”

Shoptimize chose Amazon Web Services (AWS) to support its SaaS platform. Phalak says, “I had worked with AWS in a previous role and had a good experience. I knew AWS could meet the needs of Shoptimize in terms of cost, scalability, and management simplicity. What is more, we liked the way AWS was developing its analytics services.”

Shoptimize joined AWS Activate, a program designed to provide startups with the low-cost, easy-to-use infrastructure needed to scale and grow on the AWS Cloud. The program gave Shoptimize immediate access to AWS building blocks such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances on which to start developing its SaaS platform. A Shoptimize team of developers began creating Shoptimize applications in Python and PHP with PostgreSQL and MySQL databases. The team also worked with an AWS solutions architect to guide them through the early stages of development and help the team with capacity planning. Furthermore, since engaging with AWS, Shoptimize became an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Technology Partner and has highlighted a high level of expertise in AWS solutions.

The AWS infrastructure underpinning Shoptimize has developed substantially over time. Along with Amazon EC2 instances, the company uses Amazon CloudFront to ensure customer websites deliver low latency and high data-transfer speeds. Shoptimize also uses Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for its PostgreSQL and MySQL databases. These databases support website transactions containing product and customer information. Shoptimize also uses Amazon DynamoDB for applications that need consistent, single-digit-millisecond latency, and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to store website images.

Shoptimize has developed its analytics services around Amazon Kinesis, which is a fully managed service for real-time data processing over large, distributed data streams. Using Amazon Kinesis, Shoptimize gathers clickstream data from website visits, marketing campaigns, and online platforms such as Facebook and Google. The data is stored and processed in Amazon Redshift and presented back to customers in multiple views using online dashboards. Shoptimize is also trying out Amazon QuickSight for building data visualizations so customers can perform ad-hoc analysis of their data.

By choosing to develop its SaaS infrastructure on the AWS Cloud, Shoptimize has realized significant cost savings. “We have reduced IT costs by at least 30 percent by developing our SaaS platform on AWS rather than on premises. In turn, this increases our customers’ profitability,” says Phalak. The company has also been able to reduce management costs through the adoption of the AWS Cloud. Many of the AWS services used by Shoptimize are fully managed, meaning Shoptimize can focus resources on development instead of routine management, making more time for innovation. “We operate in a competitive market so it’s important to constantly develop our offering,” says Phalak. “The more resources we can dedicate to development the better, and AWS is helping us focus our resources to where they can be more effective for the business.”

In addition, the AWS Cloud has given Shoptimize the scalability it needs to support rapid growth. “Our AWS platform has proven to be highly flexible,” says Phalak. “We are growing at a rate of 110 percent a year, adding as many as 10 new customers to our platform per month. We couldn’t have sustained this level of expansion with an on-premises solution.”

To date, Shoptimize’s AWS infrastructure has delivered an enterprise-level 99.999 percent availability. “Customers rely on us to maintain their ecommerce operations around the clock. And with ecommerce becoming an increasing channel of revenue for our customers, pressure to maintain uptimes is increasing,” says Phalak. “By using AWS, we give customers the reliability they need and the analytics services to help them increase ecommerce sales.”

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